By Rafael Castro
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
In the turbulent landscape of geopolitics and regional conflicts, nations must sometimes take bold steps to ensure their sovereignty and security. Armenia, a nation with a history marked by territorial disputes and the threat of military incursions, finds itself at a crossroads. To protect itself from further Azerbaijani attacks and safeguard its future, Armenia should seriously consider securing a permanent French military presence on its territory. This initiative is underpinned by several compelling factors that make it not only necessary but also advantageous.
- France’s Military Strength and Historical Ties: France stands as a nuclear power with a formidable military. Moreover, it has deep historical and political connections with Armenia, making it an ideal candidate to provide security. The strength of the French military is a deterrent to potential aggressors, ensuring Armenia’s territorial integrity.
- Influential Armenian Community in France: France is home to a thriving Armenian diaspora of around 600,000 individuals. This community boasts significant influence and political power. By uniting and leveraging their might, they can play a pivotal role in initiating and sustaining a French military presence in Armenia.
- European Union Solidarity: A French military presence would be emblematic of European Union support for Armenia. In the unfortunate event of an Azerbaijani attack, the entire EU would stand in solidarity with Armenia, sending a strong message of deterrence to any aggressor.
- American Constraints and Russian Sensitivities: Given America’s involvement in multiple global conflict zones and the heightened sensitivity of Russia to American military presence near its borders, Armenia cannot rely on American military defense. A French presence could serve as a more balanced and feasible alternative.
- International Treaty Enforcement: Armenia’s sovereignty currently relies on international treaties and conventions that may not always be enforced by the international community. A French military presence would serve as a tangible reinforcement of Armenia’s territorial integrity.
- Deterrence Against Azerbaijani Expansion: Without a foreign military presence, the Azerbaijani government will always be tempted to seize more Armenian territory to divert attention from economic problems and widespread corruption. A French military presence would eliminate this option for the Aliyev regime.
If the Armenian diaspora in France unites and actively lobbies major political parties in the country to support the establishment of this military presence, it could play a role in French foreign policy akin to that of the American-Jewish community in American foreign policy. After the Holocaust, the American-Jewish community united to secure diplomatic, political, and military support for the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948. In a similar vein, the Armenian community in France can help secure the sovereignty and self-determination of the Armenian nation.
In conclusion, the establishment of a permanent French military presence in Armenia is not only a necessary step for safeguarding the nation’s security but also a viable one. By harnessing the influence and political power of the Armenian community in France, Armenia can bolster its defense and strengthen its position on the world stage. The lessons of history demonstrate that determined communities can be powerful advocates for change, and the Armenian diaspora in France has the potential to play a crucial role in securing Armenia’s future.
(Rafael Castro graduated from Yale University and Hebrew University and is an independent political analyst based in Berlin.)